Sinister & Spooky: All 12 Halloween Movies Ranked From Worst to Best

Michael Myers is a name that brings a shiver down the spine of many movie victims, none more so than Laurie Strode, as played by the amazing Jamie Lee Curtis. Unleashed on the town of Haddonfield, Illinois, in 1978 by legendary director John Carpenter, Michael Myers has appeared and re-appeared on our screens for over 40 years in the Halloween franchise, starring in 11 out of the 12 films. Michael was primarily portrayed by Nick Castle, but in the years since, 16 different actors have portrayed the character, including child actors playing the younger Myers.

Michael Myers from the Halloween franchise
Michael Myers from the Halloween franchise

Myers first appeared in the original 1978 Halloween as a young boy who murders his elder sister, Judith Myers. Fifteen years later, he returns home to Haddonfield to murder more teenagers. In the original film, he was referred to just as ‘The Shape’ in the credits.

Halloween jumpstarted the so-called Golden Age of slasher horror films, in no small part due to its massive success. It influenced many films, most notably the Friday the 13th (1980) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) franchises. The original film came about after Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), impressed independent film producer Irwin Yablans. He sought out Carpenter with the idea for a new film, and the rest is horror movie history.

The Halloween franchise main artwork
The Halloween franchise main artwork

He asked Carpenter to direct a film for them about a psychotic killer that stalked babysitters, tentatively called ‘The Babysitter Murders’. Yablans was hoping for a film that had the same impact as The Excorcist (1973), and despite the limited budget, Carpenter delivered. The film took an estimated $60 – 70 million at the box office, from a budget of around $325,000. This success spawned a franchise that is still bankable to this day.

Check out our Top 5 John Carpenter films here.

Michael Myers from the Halloween franchise
The iconic mask and carving knife belonging to Micahel Myers from the Halloween franchise

The quality of the Halloween sequels and remakes vary wildly, from excellent horror magic to absolute rubbish. So, we’ve ranked all 12 films and listed them here, from worst to best…

12. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

We had already 7 Halloween films by the time it came to Halloween: Resurrection in 2002. It felt like everything should have finished with Halloween H20, a direct sequel to the first two films that ignored everything else. In fact, Jamie Lee Curtis wanted to end the series, but a legal clause wouldn’t allow the writers to kill Michael Myers off, so out came this car crash of a film.

Released not long after films such as The Blair Witch Project (1999) and around the reality TV craze of the early 2000s, Halloween: Resurrection was also brought out after the massive success of meta-slasher Scream (1996) and parodies such as Scary Movie (2000), which had deconstructed and turned the genre upside down by this point.

So, piggy-backing on the found-footage trend, this terrible entry gives us awful visuals, bland acting and quite frankly, a cheap-looking film. Seriously cheap! You would have thought it was an amateur theatre performance. It’s just so dumb that it hardly matters.

Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

He’s back for more… When a group of teens win a contest to spend a night in Michael Myers’ childhood home to be broadcast live on the Internet, they believe they are in for a little fun and some free publicity. But things go frightfully wrong and the game turns into a struggle to make it out of the house alive.

11. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

The Curse of Michael Myers is the 6th entry in the series, but they dropped the numbering by this one, perhaps due to it all becoming a bit silly and off-putting having so many movies pre-dating it. Only really notable due to the final appearance of the late Donald Pleasance as the iconic Dr Samuel Loomis, this film comes at the tail end of the “Thorn Trilogy” story arc established in Halloween 4. The whole idea was frankly bonkers, trying to find a way to explain the characters power and immortality.

The problem with giving too much information and establishing a backstory for a character like Michael Myers is pretty apparent. You remove the mystique, and you remove the power. Nothing will ever live up to these expectations.

The film is packed with voodoo and mystical silliness. Unfortunately, the gore level is high, but the scare level is low, and it just becomes a howlingly silly origin story.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

This installment marks the return of the seemingly indestructible masked murderer Michael Myers , who is targeting Tommy Doyle, a young man tied into the legacy of the killer and his connections with the Strode family. As the supernatural elements of Michael’s macabre abilities are explored, his longtime adversary, Dr. Sam Loomis, is also back in yet another attempt to stop the psychopath’s brutal rampages.

10. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

The Revenge of Michael Myers was the beginning of the end for the Halloween franchise, in its original form at least. The “Curse of Thorn” subplot that began in the 4th film was minimised here due to reaction to the previous film, but this then causes more confusion, especially as it is picked up again in the next film.

At this point, the whole thing is frustrating and dull. The kills are silly, unfunny attempts at humour, tedious padding and the lack of likeable would-be victims. Is this also the worst Michael Myers’ mask we see in the series? It’s like they popped down to the fancy dress shop and picked one up.

The one interesting part of the film involves Myers coming after Jamie, who is now in a children’s psychiatric hospital after attacking her stepmother. The concept of Jamie having a psychic bond with her deranged uncle is something that could have worked well, but unfortunately this entry is complete trash. One for hardcore fans only.

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

After lying in a coma for a year, Michael Myers awakens and stalks his way back to his small hometown in Illinois, intent on killing his niece, Jamie, who has been confined to a mental institution since Michael’s last attempt to slay her. Suspecting a psychic link between Michael and Jamie, psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis joins forces with Sheriff Ben Meeker and attempts to stop Michael’s latest rampage.

9. Halloween II (2009)

Perhaps for the first time in any of the films, Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (2009) took the plunge into discovering the psychology behind the killings we see on screen. Delving into the characters’ psyche, it tries to discover how the violence infects and perverts all the other characters in the film.

The problem is that it is weighed down by a sub-par plot and excruciating dialogue. The violence is once again off the scale, like a weird arthouse slasher film, but the truth is that this film never really hits the target.

Weirdly, this movie also tries to pack in an abundance of cultural references, in-jokes and cameos that make no sense at all. It almost crosses the line into self-parody, but I don’t think that was the actual intention.

Halloween II (2009)
Halloween II (2009)

A year after narrowly escaping death at the hands of Michael Myers, Laurie Strode is at the breaking point, pushed to the edge by Dr. Loomis’ revelation that she’s Michael’s sister. Little does she know, the unstoppable killer is back in Haddonfield and, driven by visions of their dead mother, he is determined to bring about a bloody family reunion.

8. Halloween (2007)

Halloween (2007) is a remake of the original film that expands on the material, sometimes to great effect, sometimes entirely needlessly. Because it’s still about Michael Myers, it feels larger than it should, and though flawed in many ways, the story is so strongly influenced by the original film, that it still has a fair amount of enjoyability.

The most significant difference from what we had seen before is that the gore is dialled up to 11. Rob Zombie’s vision of the franchise is hardcore and uncompromising, displaying violence that is truly grim and very nasty. The problem is it sacrifices the chills and the horror in the search for this bloodbath.

Halloween (2007)
Halloween (2007)

Nearly two decades after being committed to a mental institution for killing his stepfather and older sister, Michael Myers breaks out, intent on returning to the town of Haddonfield. He arrives in his hometown on Halloween with the indomitable purpose of hunting down his younger sister, Laurie. The only thing standing between Michael and a Halloween night of bloody carnage is psychologist Dr. Samuel Loomis.

7. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Halloween 4 (1988) was originally intended to be a ghost story, but after the poor reception of Halloween III (which stepped away from the main franchise as it did not feature Michael Myers), this film reintroduced him to succumb to audience demands.

Released six years after the previous entry, the film feels rushed and like a cash grab but did try to return to the original roots, even if it failed to live up to them. Instead, the film feels more like an obligatory teen slasher movie, that the 80s were famous for. It delivers on the killings, but the horror elements are mostly gone here.

However, Donald Pleasence is a truly great actor, chewing the scenery as the brilliant Dr Lumis, making up for some of the bad elements of the film. It’s a curious entry that makes you wonder where the franchise would have gone had they stuck to the anthology format originally intended and given us the ghost story originally written for this episode into the series.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

The apparently comatose Michael Myers is being transferred from one hospital to another, but he wakes up when the ambulance crew talk about his surviving niece, Jamie. After slaughtering his attendants, Myers sets out to find his one living relative who is, fortunately, being cared for by a kind and resourceful foster sister named Rachel. Meanwhile, the ever-cautious Dr. Loomis remains on the killer’s path.

6. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) is the most curious entry in the franchise, and the only one without the primary antagonist Michael Myers in it. Carpenter’s idea was for the franchise to be an anthology horror series, with different spooky tales in each film, without continuation. In fact, the film treats the prior films in the franchise as fictional films, with the movie being shown on a TV set in one of the scenes.

The film focuses on witchcraft and science fiction, with a madman planning mass murder using a television commercial designed to kill millions of children.

The film dropped the graphic violence of previous films, focusing on the suspense and tension that the original film was known for as well as exploring interesting ideas about violence against young children. The result is a bit of a mess but hugely enjoyable and a strikingly visual treat.

The critical and financial failure of the film caused backpedalling from the studio, reversing the decision to get rid of Michael Myers, bringing him back in Halloween 4. But this film does give a glimpse into the intriguing original intention for the franchise.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Hospital emergency room Dr. Daniel “Dan” Challis and Ellie Grimbridge, the daughter of a murder victim, uncover a terrible plot by small-town mask maker Conal Cochran, a madman who’s planning a Halloween mass murder utilizing an ancient Celtic ritual. The ritual involves a boulder stolen from Stonehenge, the use of Silver Shamrock masks and a triggering device contained in a television commercial, all designed to kill millions of children.

5. Halloween Kills (2021)

Halloween Kills (2021) is the sequel to 2018’s successful re-imagined sequel to the original film. A pretty solid entry into the series, the film picks up immediately where the previous film left us, with Michael on the loose and wracking up the kill count once again.

This time around, whilst Laurie is recovering in hospital, Anthony Michael Hall’s character Tommy (who was featured as a young boy in the original film) goes out on the hunt with the rest of the town to kill the evil maniac Myers, once and for all.

This movie offers some tremendous creative kills and gross moments and has some interesting things regarding mob mentality, but it does get repetitive and silly at times. The shocks increase from 2018’s entry, but the script is far weaker, and the ending leaves a lot to be desired.

We reacted to the trailer for this film earlier in the year, which you can check out here, and we also covered the film in our Weekly Podcast, which you can check out here.

Halloween Kills (2021)
Halloween Kills (2021)

Minutes after Laurie Strode, her daughter Karen and granddaughter Allyson left masked monster Michael Myers caged and burning in a basement, Laurie is rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, believing she finally killed her lifelong tormentor. But when Michael manages to free himself from the trap, his ritual bloodbath resumes.

4. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) was the first attempt at retconning some of the earlier content that was getting in the way of moving the franchise forward. The Jamie Lloyd story arc of the previous three instalments was dropped, and the film is a direct sequel to the first two movies.

This one follows a post-traumatic Laurie Strode, who has faked her death in order to go into hiding from her brother, Michael Myers, who finds her working at a private boarding school in California.

It is definitely the best of the initial sequels, and far more character-driven than any of its predecessors. H20 is stylish and scary like the original and drowning in the ultra-violence the series became known for. It brings back a stunning Jamie Lee Curtis in the role that made her a star, and she delivers the goods in a standout performance. The film is a driving rollercoaster of classic slasher thrills and chills.

 Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

Two decades after surviving a massacre on October 31, 1978, former baby sitter Laurie Strode finds herself hunted by persistent knife-wielder Michael Myers. Laurie now lives in Northern California under an assumed name, where she works as the headmistress of a private school. But it’s not far enough to escape Myers, who soon discovers her whereabouts. As Halloween descends upon Laurie’s peaceful community, a feeling of dread weighs upon her… with good reason.

3. Halloween II (1981)

Halloween II (1981) is not as good as the original, sure, but with it carrying mostly the same cast and crew and carrying on straight after the first story, it is a strong sequel in hindsight.

Many people don’t like the film for some reason, and it was criticised at the time, mainly due to the overt violence and gore, especially when compared to the original. But the creepy horror elements are still on show here, and John Carpenter’s handprints are still all over this.

It begins with the ending of Halloween, building nerve wrackingly through a series of gory kills into a satisfying conclusion. And perhaps, this is where the franchise should have ended.

Halloween II (1981)
Halloween II (1981)

After failing to kill stubborn survivor Laurie and taking a bullet or six from former psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis, Michael Myers has followed Laurie to the Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, where she’s been admitted for Myers’ attempt on her life. The institution proves to be particularly suited to serial killers, however, as Myers cuts, stabs and slashes his way through hospital staff to reach his favorite victim.

2. Halloween (2018)

Halloween (2018) is the eleventh instalment in the series and a sequel to the 1978 film, effecting a retroactive continuity of all previous sequels. So if you didn’t enjoy Halloween II, you could just jump forward 40 years, straight to this film.

THis entry delivers exactly what the series needed. It stripped back years of mangling of the story, paired everything down to its simplest elements, and let Michael Myers loose once again.

Here, Michael felt like a real breathing entity that you could touch and believe in. The silly, increasingly elaborate mythology has been taken away. It brings back Jamie Lee Curtis in a fabulous starring role, and Nick Castle returns as Michael.

It embraces the simplistic fear of the original and crafts a 40-years-in-the-making follow-up that perhaps won’t scare you but at least give you chills.

Halloween (2018)
Halloween (2018)

It’s been 40 years since Laurie Strode survived a vicious attack from crazed killer Michael Myers on Halloween night. Locked up in an institution, Myers manages to escape when his bus transfer goes horribly wrong. Laurie now faces a terrifying showdown when the masked madman returns to Haddonfield. But this time, she’s ready for him.

1. Halloween (1978)

If Psycho (1960) is the grandfather of slasher films, Halloween (1978) must be the father of modern slashers. It really is the film that set the standard for the modern horror genre.

Scary, suspenseful, and viscerally thrilling, John Carpenter creates a sparse and intriguing masterpiece of cinema, with its iconic chilling piano score pulsating through your veins and leaving goosebumps on your neck.

The film is never overtly violent. It doesn’t explain away the story with needless exposition and doesn’t dwell on anything, ripping through its psychological nightmare at a rapid pace.

It delivers scares in all manner of ways, including the classic “jump scare” that have become the most common trope of these types of films ever since. But the lingering tension and shocks presented throughout the film stay with you long after the credits roll.

Check out our full review for this movie here.

Halloween (1978)
Halloween (1978)

On a cold Halloween night in 1963, six year old Michael Myers brutally murdered his 17-year-old sister, Judith. He was sentenced and locked away for 15 years. But on October 30, 1978, while being transferred for a court date, a 21-year-old Michael Myers steals a car and escapes Smith’s Grove. He returns to his quiet hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, where he looks for his next victims.

There you have it, all the Halloween movies ranked from worst to best!

How did we do? What’s your favourite Halloween movie? Let us know in the comments below.

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David Roberts
Dave is a digital content creator, web and software developer and keen filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @drobertsdigital.